A silver lining, not a sunrise
Why isn’t Obama doing better? Why isn’t Romney? The answer is jobsVoters may not hold grudges on November 6th. Political scientists reckon that economic fundamentals strongly influence the performance of the incumbent party in big elections, and that voters place the biggest emphasis on the most recent trends in such things as income and employment. The perception that hard times were retreating carried both Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan to re-election, in 1936 and 1984, despite economic struggles earlier in their terms. It is discomfort with recent performance that leaves Mr Obama facing such a tight race. Economic models predict a virtual dead heat.
One last month’s worth of jobs data— October’s—will be released before the election. Whatever the numbers, Mr Obama will be unable to make a Reagan-like claim that morning has returned to America. If Mr Romney is unable to capitalise on this, that may be because of his failure, matched by his opponent’s, to offer the country a convincing explanation for its long-run labour-market troubles.
Read it at The Economist: